You’ve probably seen some old, old houses while out on a drive. Those ancient dwellings from the ’70s or even earlier. Or maybe you’ve even lived in one.
And you might have wondered what exactly is the average lifespan of a house? How long before the house is considered old? And when does it become more of a maintenance headache than an actual pleasure to live in?
When is it practical to just demolish such a house? Are there any other reasons (except age) that you would need to demolish a house?
It turns out that demolitions are needed for a variety of very necessary reasons – and some to do with owner discretion.
Why Would You Need To Tear Down A House In The First Place?
There could be a variety of reasons, the most common ones are listed below:
Home Owner Decision
Suppose you’ve decided to build a house but don’t find any available lots in your preferred area for the size that you’re looking for. Maybe the lots are too small for your need of building a 3000 sq ft. house and the larger lots are all sold out.
But you do come across a few old houses (for your required size) whose owners are looking to sell. You consider their offers and see that just maintaining the houses will not do. A better option would be to demo the house and build it from scratch. It will cost more but if you’re not willing to buy in another area then that might be the only option you have.
You finalize a house, sign the contract, make the payments and the house is all yours. Now you just need to hire demolition contractors and get started with the demolition (after completing the pre-demolition requirements).
The House Or Building Has Become A Hazard
Happens with older buildings and can happen with more recent constructions in the event of a natural calamity (like a massive earthquake).
Houses made with lower quality materials will suffer more damage than houses made from high-quality materials or those that have an earthquake-resistant design (modular design, use of wood and steel, and so on).
In case a house has been severely damaged in an earthquake, it will be marked as a hazard and will have to be demolished sooner or later because it will become unfit for residence.
Owner Wants To Get A Good Price For The Lot
With houses that are quite old and in need of major repair (including structural repairs), the owner may decide not to bother and just demolish the whole structure so he can get a better price for his lot.
The Step By Step Process For A House Demolition
You’ve finally decided to have a professional demolition crew demolish your house. Here’s what a standard house demolition process includes:
These are all the steps that need to be taken care of before the actual demolition.
Get Estimates And Hire A Contractor
You don’t want to hire the very first demolition contractor you come across. One way to search is to go online and search for companies/contractors who have been in this field for a long time, have genuine positive reviews, seem professional when contacted and listen to all your concerns and walk you through any questions you might have.
You can also get to reputable contracts by reaching out to your network or simply contacting a local real estate agent.
After you’ve talked to a couple of reputed demolition companies, take an estimate for the cost of house demolition. Larger or ‘more renowned’ companies will naturally charge a premium but you may be able to get your work done for less with a smaller (but reputable) company.
You should also discuss the timeframe, and have everything in writing before finalizing and signing a contract.
Get Your Permits
Every house demolition will require a demolition permit, so reach out to the concerned government departments and they’ll issue you one in a matter of days.
Get An Inspection Done
Most municipalities require you to get an inspection done to see if a house demolition is feasible for your house (in its current condition) and if the demolition will cause any health or safety hazards.
If everything checks out, you can ask the demolition company to begin the process.
Disconnect All Utilities
You’ll need to reach out to your utility providers so they can send personnel and safely disconnect your house utilities before any demolition work begins.
The Demolition Process
After you’ve completed all the necessary requirements for house demolition, it‘s time to begin with, the actual demolition of your house.
Take Out All The Furniture And Appliances
You’ll either need to hire a removal company or call in some friends to move your furniture to another location. Obviously, things like curtains, electrical fixtures, appliances will also need to be moved out. The demolition company will also advise you on what can be recycled or should be taken out prior to the demolition.
Taking Out All The Recyclable Material
The demolition company will remove doors, piping, sinks, bathtubs and kitchen cabinets and counters, stoves, and any other salvageable stuff in your house that can either be used again or recycled (which you couldn’t have removed yourself).
Starting The Demolition
Companies will usually start the demolition process by caving in the roof of the house by using the excavator’s arm. The roof is removed first to avoid the house collapsing on itself if the demo job is started from the walls or the ground floor.
Then the walls of the topmost floor will be taken down one by one, and then the roof the of the floor beneath it. A similar process will be followed for each floor.
Clearing the Debris
Once the house is completely taken down, it’s time to remove the debris. You’ll need to contact a hauling company or hauling services might have been included in your contract with the demolition company.
If you’re hiring hauling services yourself, it costs between $400 to $800 per truckload for disposal.
Pouring Concrete Over The Foundation
To preserve the foundation, the demolition company pours concrete on the foundation once the debris has been cleared. You’ll need to request the company to either include this in your contract you’ll need to hire other services for this purpose.
Cost To Demolish A House
The costs associated with demolishing a house depend on various factors. What is the size of the house? Does it have a basement that needs to be destroyed? Is it a partial demolition or a full demolition? Are there any other reasons which may drive up demolition costs like mold?
Your demolition company will give you an estimate after inspecting your property.
Average House Demolition Costs
The average cost to tear down a standard house (according to HomeAdvisor) is $18,000. The high end is $25,000 and the low-end is $3000.
House Demolition Cost By Square Feet
Depending on where your house is located – rural, suburbs, or city center – cost by square feet can be anywhere between $2 to $17 with an average cost between $5 and $14.
Demolition Cost By Size
|Size In Square Feet||Cost To Demolish|
|1,000||$3500 – $15,000|
|1,200||$5,000 – $19,000|
|1,500||$6,000 – $23,000|
|2,000||$8,500 – $32,000|
|3,000||$12,000 – $45,000|
|4,000||$15,000 – $50,000|
|5,000||$18,000 – $60,000|
|6,000||$ 20,000 – $65,000|
Partial Demolition Costs
In many cases, you don’t need or don’t want to carry out a total demolition, the foremost reason being that you don’t plan on moving out or selling your plot, rather toy wants to reconstruct just a part of your house.
Here are the costs for a partial demolition:
|Chimney||$3,500 – $10,000|
|Interior Walls||$1000 – $4500|
|Deck||$28 – $50 per square foot|
|Garage||$3000 – $9000|
|Barn||$45 – $100 per hour|
|Roof||$4 – $6 per square foot|
|Driveway||$2000 – $5,500|
|Foundation||$1,500 – $6,000|
|Swimming Pool||$3000 – $20,000|
|Additions||$ 55 – $ 100 per hour|
|Bathroom||$500 – $1400|
|Patio||$500 – $2,000|
|Extension||$700 – $3000|
|Basement||$6000 – $25,000|
Cost to Rebuild A Home After Demolition
Your demo cost will also depend on what you want to do with the site after the demo. Average demo and rebuilding costs (combined) are $434,000 for a 2500 sq. feet house – $10,000 for the demo and $ 424,000 for the house.
Q: How Long Does It Take To Demolish A House?
A: The time it takes to demolish a house depends on the size and complexity of the job. Typically, it takes between three days to a week to demolish a standard-sized house (and take away the debris).
Q: Should You Go On A DIY demolition project?
It depends on a few factors:
- What is the size of the house?
- What is your general health condition (anybody who is aged and does not regularly exercise is not advised to remove any appliances or do heavy work)?
- Is the house accessible?
- Do you have relevant experience or knowledge of a demo job?
In most cases, it is best to leave a demo job to professionals, especially if you have a large house. Also, if the house contains asbestos, you will only want a professional to deal with their removal.
You can do cost savings in other areas (explained below).
Q: How To Save Costs On The Demolition Project?
- Carry on with the removal aspect of the job yourself. Take out the cabinetry, furniture, and small appliances by yourself.
- Call on some friends to help you in taking out and hauling away larger appliances or furniture.
House Demolition: Conclusion
Tearing down a house is a job that needs proper planning and is best to leave to the professionals. If you choose a reputed demolition company, you may have to pay a bit more, but you will definitely have a professional team that will carry out a demo job in the most disciplined and timely manner.